SharePoint Saturday Boston and SharePoint Conference .ORG

I’ve had a wonderful time over the last four days as an attendee and speaker at two great SharePoint events.


The first one was SharePoint Saturday Boston, right in my own backyard at Microsoft’s offices in Waltham, MA. Helping Pradeepa Siva, Talbott Crowell (@talbott), and Geoff Varosky (@gvaro) with the organizing a bit certainly gave me a new perspective on the complexity of putting a SharePoint Saturday (or any event) together. All of the things that we as attendees take for granted (the coffee showing up at the right time, good pens for the name tags, trash bags) add up to an staggering array of details to manage.

At SharePoint Saturday Boston, I spoke about Flying in the Cloud: New Ways to Develop in SharePoint. To some degree, it’s the same sort of stuff (DVWPs, jQuery, SPServices, etc.) that I’ve been talking about for years now; moving to the Cloud simply makes it all even more useful. As you know if you attended, I didn’t use many slides (I never do), but here they are if you’d like them. See below for the demo sites.


Next was the SharePoint Conference .ORG in Reston, VA, put on by my friends at SusQTech. This is a wonderful conference focused on the public sector primarily, but with plenty of great content for anyone working with SharePoint. SusQTech is a somewhat unusual firm in the they combine world-class design talent with world class SharePoint development and admin talent. There aren’t that many shops that can handle things soup-to-nuts like they can. Plus, they are simply swell people to know.

On Sunday I taught an all day workshop with one of my design heroes, Kyle Schaeffer (@kylschaeffer) on SharePoint UI Essentials. If you haven’t checked out Kyle’s blog before, you definitely should, especially his work on responsive design and the v5 master page. The sold out workshop took the attendees through the gamut of thinking about SharePoint design, from the “What is HTML and CSS?” level to customizing master pages and adding jQuery into the mix to enhance the user experience. Kyle and I had a great time teaching together (let’s do it again soon, Kyle!) and the feedback was really positive.

On Monday, I did a jQuery-focused session called Working Magic with jQuery and SharePoint Web Services in which I showed how you can use jQuery to spice up the user interface and improve the interactions your users have with SharePoint. Of course, using the SOAP Web Services through SPServices and the value-added functions like SPCascadeDropdowns it contains played a role in the demos. As with most of my sessions, there were few slides, but here they are.

I used the same demo sites to talk about all of these topics to some degree, focusing on different bits and pieces within them as the topics shifted. If you’d like to look under the hood on those demos, here are the Middle Tier and Budgets sites saved as WSPs in a ZIP file. They come from Office365, and sometimes that may cause feature mismatches if you try to instantiate them in an on-premises environment. If you have issues, check my post on the problems I’ve had, along with the solutions, and ping me if that doesn’t work.


SharePoint Conference .ORG Session Links

Thanks to everyone who attended my Enhancing the User Experience with jQuery session at SharePoint Conference .ORG in Baltimore on Monday this week. I thoroughly enjoyed the conference, and loved all of the interest and questions in my session. The folks at SusQTech put on a wonderful show!

Here are links to the things which I demoed. Everything I showed in the session and quite a lot more is available on my Sympraxis Consulting demo site. The first two demoes were in SharePoint 2007, and the rest was in 2010. Let me know if you’re interested in the vice versa on anything.

Animated Banner Demo


Fancy Radio Buttons and Check Boxes Demo


SPServices Forms Enhancements in SharePoint 2010

This set of demos is contained in a solution file (WSP) called SPCOrg 2011 Enhancing the UX with jQueryUse SHIFT+ENTER to open the menu (new window)., which is also available on my demo site in the Demo Site Templates on the upper right of the page.


jQueryUI Item Sorting Demo

This demo is available in the Middle Tier solution file, also available on my demo site in the Demo Site Templates on the upper right of the page. (This solution is also part of another session I do called Developing in SharePoint’s Middle Tier. In that session I cover much more about how this is built using Custom List and Data View Web Parts [DVWPs].)


Just so that there’s no confusion, all of this demo code is yours for the taking if you’d like to use it. However, it is what it is and is probably more suited for demos and education than production use. Besides, it addresses *my* requirements, not yours!

My Upcoming Speaking Events

Oddly, I’ve had some people asking me where I’ll be speaking in the coming weeks and months, so I figured I’d do a post with the details.

imageFirst up is SharePoint conference .ORG coming up March 7-9 in Baltimore, MD. I’ll be doing a session entitled Enhancing the User Experience with jQuery. While the title may look familiar, I never do exactly the same stuff twice, and the session is pretty much all demo. You’ll see some of the great functionality available in SPServices, but also some new things I’ve been working on.

dallas logojpgNext up is SharePoint Fest Dallas on March 16 in, well, Dallas. I’ll be doing a new session there called Developing in SharePoint’s Middle Tier. Though I’ve been talking about many of the bits and pieces I’ll cover here, including Data View Web Parts (DVWPs), JavaScript/jQuery, CSS, XSL, and the SharePoint Web Services using SPServices, I haven’t tied it all together in one session before except locally at BASPUG here in Boston. Based on the discussions that ensued during and after that session, we should have fun and good learnin’ in Dallas, as well.


At SharePoint Fest Denver, May 19-20, I’ll be reprising my Developing in SharePoint’s Middle Tier session. It’ll be a different crowd and the session in Denver will be unique, as most sessions are. Again, all demo, and I’ll have new things to show that I haven’t even thought up yet.

USPJ Academy - SharePoint TrainingFinally, you can hear me go on and on about these and other topics at the USPJ Academy anytime if you enroll as a student. I teach three courses there at the moment, and I’ll be starting a new session of my Enhancing the User Experience with jQuery course on February 28th. While a session that lasts an hour or two might cover some things, imagine a six week course with videos, forums, practical assignments and critiques to really understand this stuff. Come and join us!

I’m Speaking at the SharePoint Conference .ORG in Baltimore, March 6-9

Next month, I will be speaking at the SharePoint Conference .ORG 2011 in Baltimore (March 6-9).  My session is called, “Enhancing the User Experience with jQuery”. I’ve done this session quite a few times, but it’s never the same twice. It’s all demo, and I’ll be showing some of the old stuff, specifically SPServices form enhancements, and some of the new stuff that I’ve been doing lately with jQuery and the SharePoint UI to improve the UX.

This session will cover how to use jQuery with SharePoint to enhance the user experience and improve data quality.  You’ll learn how to get jQuery set up for use with SharePoint and how to work with the client-side Document Object Model (DOM).  Specific examples using the jQuery Library for SharePoint Web Services (aka SPServices) will be included and may be of the most interest to business users.

I like this quote over on Marcy Kellar’s post about this conference: “Marc is a strong proponent of easy to use interfaces and considers the user experience when developing solutions for SharePoint (something I wish more devs did).” Well, if the user interface isn’t good, then what are your users to think?!?!? They certainly won’t be buying you any Christmas presents if you give them crappy ones. Systems succeed or fail “on the glass”, and we all need to be thinking about how to improve that UX all the time.

Other upcoming speaking engagements: SPTechCon next week in San Francisco, SharePoint Fest Dallas on March 16 and in SharePoint Fest Denver, May 19-20.